This is right out of the Simpsons. Seriously. Apparently, our Australian friends across northern Queensland had a brilliant time on Sunday snacking on sausages and sipping cold drinks as they celebrated the state’s inaugural “Toad Day Out.”
Essentially, hundreds of Aussies young and old got together for a mass killing of poisonous cane toads (Not as cute nor as politically charged as Baby Harp Seals). They didn’t actually club the toads, but opted for freezing as a more humane way to “euthanize” the pests. To keep the toad cleansing even greener, they turned the corpses into fertilizer.
Organizers received around 3,600 of the toxic amphibians, the largest weighing in at over a pound. Its captor received several movie passes and a trophy made out of a cane toad.
My favorite specimen was one that was reportedly turned-in in Cairns that had a fifth leg growing out of its chest, which offers a bit more environmental intrigue for our pals down under.
How did this extraordinary community event come to be?
- The poisonous cane toads were imported from South America in 1935 to control beetles on sugarcane. Trouble was, the lousy toads couldn’t jump high enough to catch a beetle.
- The toads bred rapidly in the millions and now threaten many local species.
- They’re also voracious eaters, including chowing on small birds.
- PLUS, they spread wonderful diseases, like salmonella, and produce a highly toxic venom.
- They’re only harmful to humans if you swallow the venom, so no kissing cane toads.
Rumor has it that the inaugural “Toad Out Day” may be the first and last. Not because the local townsfolk didn’t turn out in droves; it was immensely popular. But because local authorities are considering introducing a carnivorous ant into the ecosystem that just might be able to kill off the cane toad. Apparently, ants are a bit more industrious than the earth-bound salientians.